“The concept of home was always a tough subject for me to tackle,” says kessari, an emerging pop singer-songwriter currently based in Bangkok.
Growing up as a third culture kid and being of Thai-Chinese-American background, kessari’s music is a vessel through which she can celebrate her identity.
As described by the singer herself, ‘Blonde Eyes and Blue Hair’—her latest single—is a “typical New York love story with a twist to emphasize the importance of representation in modern media.”
However, moving to New York wasn’t easy for kessari. “I had a hard time finding my groove because of my background,” she reveals. “It was the first time I really felt like an outsider, especially because most of my friends growing up were either mixed raced or third culture kids, and so they could easily relate to my experiences.”
“It wasn’t really until I met this boy, also an international third culture kid, that I felt as though I found someone in the city that I completely connected with,” the singer then continues.
“I lived in Hong Kong for 12 years but never learned Cantonese. I was in the British school system for most of my life but I’m from a Thai-Chinese American background. I spoke English and studied Mandarin in school but was never taught Thai history. … It felt like everything I identified as, I simultaneously had a disconnect with.”
“On top of that, being mixed raced, there’s the internal conflict of I’m not Asian enough or white enough to fully relate to the people I’m interacting with and asking yourself questions like am I a person of colour? or am I allowed to openly talk about stigmas and racial issues within the Asian community?”
“Music is a universal language. You can walk into a room with someone of a completely different background and still write a dope song together,” kessari explains. “The people I’ve met and connections I’ve made have pushed me to grow as a songwriter and artist.”
“While the pandemic has provided me the space and time to pursue music, it’s still been difficult for me, as it has been for everyone,” she adds.
Though kessari struggles with self-doubt and the little voice in her head—the infamous inner saboteur—telling her that she’s not good enough, the up-and-coming pop star has eventually found a way to cope with such negative emotions.
“I have to constantly remind myself that the tracks I release are not a reflection of where I am now, but where I was. And that’s always how it will be,” kessari tells me. “That’s the process of releasing music.”
“When I started out making music, it was just me and my notebook. Now, I’ve created a community for myself that I couldn’t live without,” kessari finally adds. “I’m so grateful to everyone who’s given me a chance, put their faith in me and have helped push me to open up about situations I’ve struggled with in my music.”
Dreams do come true.